[Solved] This is how I stopped Child Maintenance with 50/50 shared care
@samaugier in short, if CMS have sent you a payment plan, they would expect you to pay. if you stop paying, then they can switch to collect any pay, then add on additional 20% enforcement charge. you could look at appealing the rejected mandatory reconsideration, by applying to tribunal. have 1 month to appeal the MR if they reject it. I have come across cases where CMS have arranged refunds for a paying parent, where they over-paid/wrongly paid.
you could also consider putting a complaint into their senior manager: firstname.lastname@example.org can also copy in your local MP to email.
I just found this forum today, what a great forum......
I am having the same issues as many of you with CMS....My wife divorced me due to my Mental health issue and we sold our family home back in DEC 2020. We split the money 50/50 and she took everything from the house. Cut along story short I met a lady and that triggered my battles with the CMS back in August 21. I phoned them many times to explain I have both my boys 50/50 (Fri-Fri) I do all the school runs, have their uniforms at my house take them to all their out school sports, even changed my work hours, etc. I was told on the phone on many occasions they would contact my ex to check what I was saying was true. I never heard anything from them or my ex about any payments again. Roll on to May 22 and I told my ex that I introduced my partner to my boys, then it started all over again.
My ex has told them I have never made payments (never mentioned it to me before), so they are now going to take money directly out of my wages monthly. This is so stressful as it will make looking after my boys difficult financially (selling the car to help this). I requested all data that CMS had on me including call records and they have no record of any of my calls from 21. I am currently pending a decision on a complaint with CMS and have written to Child benefits asking for an 'Underline Entitlement' to be placed.
I have to confess I feel this is my fault as I trusted my ex as we agreed 50/50 on money etc. I have offered to help her should she need any money, but she has become so vindictive, now it's become about money and not the boys or my mental health struggles.
Do you guys all have a court order in place regards the children's care being 50/50? It appears even if you have one the CMS can still take money?
I am currently phoning CMS daily trying to get them to make a decision on my case, only then can I take it to the next stage. My real issue is I need to stop the first payment coming out next month as it will be a real struggle until I sell my car.
@bill337 Hi, I have never paid child maintenance as after my calls with CMS I never heard anything back, just 2 letters from them one with a ridiculous figure that they said I had to pay and then another with a reduction. I stupidly thought it had been dealt with following my calls with them as never received any further correspondence until my ex started it all again in May/June 22. I have had my boys 50% from the day we moved out and I explained that to CMS on every phonecall.
@carmad hello. I’m in a similar position. I have been separated for 12 years, now gone through divorce. I have my girls over 50% of the time. My ex only recently started a claim for child maintenance because she was denied spousal in divorce. This claim despite me already paying for 50% of her mortgage, paying most things for the girls, sourcing and paying school uniforms, taking them to doctor, dentist, opticians etc. The system doesn’t look at the entire facts until pressed and is broken in my opinion
Have you tried a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) with CMS? If that gets rejected (they told me they are purely evidence based so the more you can prove you do, the better your chances), you can then go to tribunal. It might be that you’re out of time for an MR and tribunal because there’s been an extended period since it was first claimed without any appeal from you. These claims are revised annually so if you can prove change in circumstances etc, it might be you can start a mandatory reconsideration.
I had a very empathetic senior case worker on the phone last week who believes my story but am still in this challenge. It pays dividends to keep contacting them and keeping up the sharing of evidence on all you do etc.
By the way, “equal shared care” seems to be considered by the CMS as the non-residential parent (or paying parent) having the kids more than 52 nights / year. It’s absolute madness. I have my kids 185 nights per year. The system is based on “day to day care” rather than number of nights it seems but in my book, the 2 are inseparable. So child maintenance is awarded to the parent who does doctor, dentist, school work etc rather than number of nights. But you have to prove everything. That’s why if a decision can’t be made, the child maintenance defaults to the parent who gets child benefit.
hope that helps. Good luck…
So there’s 2 other options for you. First, put a claim in for Child Benefit if you haven’t already. And second, you could look at getting a court order to confirm you have the kids 50% of the time and the day to day care you provide. The CMS told me they will mostly default to either Child Benefit or any court order.
@samaugier Hi, this is why I am pushing them to make a decision as the next step will be the Mandatory reconsideration and then a tribunal should that fail. My concern is they've back dated it even though I been telling them about the 50/50 arrangement since 2021. One advisor said I could go to small claims court to get my money back off my ex! It's such a joke! I called them lastweek requesting all my calls from 21, they haven't even updated the portal with acknowledgment of my call. The thing is so stacked against us, I have my boys for well over half the year and only go on holiday with them unlike my ex who goes with her friends, just ridiculous.
I am waiting on benefits to get back to me strangely enough I just received a text from them, informing me they will write to me with a decision. CMS currently is waiting on their response to make a decision on change of carer, could it be anymore painful 🙂
Thanks for taking the timeout to respond.
Got rejected today, I only found out as I was uploading more evidence, no text message nothing. I only spoke to CMS yesterday where I was told "My ex is not accepting 50:50". It's strange how they just take her word fo it and I have to provide proof.
I am now on hold CMS trying to speak to someone and I guess I will have to wait for letter until I can raise a Mandatory reconsideration. In the meantime HMRc is taking payments from my wages. I just hope I can get them back sometime soon.
@carmad sorry to hear that. It's shocking how one sided this process is and how much this is about the CMS taking the easy route due to
lack of investment/resource. I've been signed off work due to the stress and burnout this is causing me. I've applied to tribunal now to try and get this over turned. Keep at them though. I eventually got through to a senior case worker recently who listened and heard my story and said she cant understand why the case hasn't been closed. But it hasn't been yet and so the fight continues.
@samaugier Hi mate, I been off sick for 5 days for exactly the same reasons as you. All the doctor can advise is I increase my meds. Please reach out if you're stressed out, before you know it you'll be on meds like me, 11 years and still on them.
Like I said PM me if you want a chat, happy to listen and maybe help.